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As I was telling someone, a film like A Mighty Heart is a tremendous benefit of an endeavor like ours.  I most likely would never have seen the movie if not for our shebang, and while I didn’t like it quite as much as Brian or John, it is definitely an above average movie.

As a general rule, I don’t like documentaries, so it is perhaps surprising that I liked A Mighty Heart at all.  But as with United 93 (which Brian touched on in his post), I found the film incredibly taut, for the most part.  I thought the movie started sagging a bit over the last quarter or so.  Also, it isn’t as big a deal, but that little child they kept showing creeped the heck out of me.  Not that I don’t understand some reasons she was in there, but I thought the movie would have been better off without her.

I still need to see most of the films being discussed in the Best Actress race, so I can’t really speak yet to whether I think Angelina Jolie should be nominated.  But I agree with John and Brian that she gives a very fine performance.  And for her to justifiably not receive a nomination, it would probably take a very strong year for actresses, if not an extraordinary one, I feel.

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So with yesterday’s killing of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, I was inspired to jot down my thoughts on A Mighty Heart, a film about another episode in the all-too-recent history of terrorism in Pakistan. It would be an understatement to say that I was shocked by how much I liked this movie. After opening to generally positive views, but amidst the clutter of the summer blockbusters, I probably would never have even considered seeing A Mighty Heart had it not been for the Golden Grouches endeavor. But I’ll blame the advertising campaign from Paramount, which as I recall, pushed the film more as an Angelina Jolie drama about lost love than a taut docudrama about the fight against terrorism.
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I really liked A Mighty Heart for what it was, but I sort of think what it was (and what I liked it for) was not the intent. It is a thrilling and engrossing procedural but comes off strangely clinical. For a movie that was meant to showcase Angelina Jolie there’s a surprising lack of emotion.

The story of reporter Daniel Pearl’s kidnapping and execution in Karachi, Pakistan is well known by now. His widow, Mariane, has become an international symbol of love, strength, and tolerance. The film spends little time setting up the relationship; they are saying their final goodbye about 5 minutes in. Much of their love is shown through flashbacks. If there’s one thing that ruins more movies for me than anything else it’s unbelievable relationships. This film goes about halfway in that their relationship is totally believable, but not very well founded so that we don’t have much of an emotional connection to it.

Much of the film follows the hunt for Danny: tracking down leads, tracing IP addresses, interrogating suspects, etc… All this is very good. Despite knowing how the search would end up I was completely engrossed. Mariane plays a surprisingly small role in the middle third of the film. Read the rest of this entry »

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